SHIPPING

Ellington Wharf Saga: Show Us Documents, Says Goundar Shipping

Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL) is demanding that Patterson Brothers Shipping Limited shows ownership documents following claims that they (PBSL) own the ramp at Ellington Wharf, Rakiraki.
16 Oct 2019 12:43
Ellington Wharf Saga: Show Us Documents, Says Goundar Shipping
Patterson Brothers Shipping Company Limited vessel Spirit of Love berthes at Ellington Wharf while Lomaiviti Princess VI is seen from afar on the right on October 15, 2019. Photo: Salote Qalubau

Goundar Shipping Limited (GSL) is demanding that Patterson Brothers Shipping Limited shows ownership documents following claims that they (PBSL) own the ramp at Ellington Wharf, Rakiraki.

GSL managing director George Goundar said everything has been verbal and no document has been shown by PBSL to prove ownership.

“If they have a legal matter then they should take it to Court and not inconvenience the public,” Mr Goundar said.

“I don’t believe in competition because I believe in service. We may not be perfect but we listen to the travelling public,” he said

“Goundar Shipping Limited will definitely be lodging a claim in Court for loss of business.”

Lomaiviti Princess 6 was scheduled to depart Ellington for Nabouwalu on Monday but could not berth due to Spirit of Altruism obstructing the ramp. 

Spirit of Altruism is owned by PBCL.

Mr Goundar will look into other options if his vessel’s departure is delayed.

“We will look at other option and we will probably approach the Government and see if the Vatia jetty in Ba is available.

“We will write a request to Government if we can move into Vatia and operate from there.”

When contacted yesterday on the issue, Patterson Brothers Shipping Company Limited managing director George Patterson said they had obtained approval to construct their ramp from the Alliance Government in 1984.

“We are not concerned about the wharf; it is the ramp that is on the wharf  that belongs to us that GSL wants to berth their ships on.

“It  is already under water and is of no use but the ramp is what vessels are using to berth in.”

He said he was not able to respond into other allegations as the matter is now with their legal team who are seeking legal action on the issue.

Meanwhile, Fiji Roads Authority (FRA) chief executive officer Jonathan Moore has maintained its stand on the Ellington Wharf being a public facility owned by FRA.

“Ellington Wharf is a public  facility owned by the FRA,” Mr Moore said.

“FRA has been communicating with Patterson Shipping and other stakeholders to have this obstruction removed so that Goundar Shipping’s vessel  Lomaiviti Princess can dock at Ellington,” he said.

He said despite communications and legal notices, Patterson Shipping is still refusing to comply.

“By blocking the Lomaiviti Princess vessel from safely berthing at Ellington, Patterson Shipping is obstructing the safe docking of a vessel and this is an offence under the maritime laws. Ellington wharf being a public facility, Patterson Shipping is also infringing the public’s right of way to enter and exit from a public place.

The RORO (Roll On Roll Off) ramp is on state land reserved for FRA’s use and by blocking access Patterson is also interfering with FRA’s interest in the land and infrastructure at Ellington. FRA has been in correspondence with MSAF alerting MSAF of Patterson’s infringing conduct according to Mr Moore.

“MSAF has various enforcement powers and we and other stakeholders are waiting for MSAF to enforce these powers on site to allow Lomaiviti Princess to safely berth at Ellington and offload its passengers,” Mr Moore said.

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